LEXINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) – Race fans, remember this name: Ty Gibbs.
In just his 32nd ARCA Menards Series start, the 18-year-old grandson of legendary team owner Joe Gibbs notched his 13th career win with a dominating performance Friday evening at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the hills of Morrow County.
Gibbs has glided through his first full season in ARCA, the top level of stock car racing under NASCAR’s three-step ladder, winning five of seven races including the last four. The young phenom’s win in Friday’s 42-lap Dawn 150 was his first in ARCA on a road course.
Gibbs did not lead flag-to-flag like in two victories on his win streak, but he did command most of the race. After Corey Heim was penalized for beating Gibbs to a restart just past halfway when Gibbs was leading, the North Carolina teen never looked back.
“Overall it was a really good day,” Gibbs told reporters after pulling his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry into victory lane. “We had to fight back, and then we got a good restart there and just took off from there.”
Despite the victory in the 16-car field, Gibbs is still one point behind Heim for the points lead.
“One point behind, it’s nice to reel him in slow and make him think about it” Gibbs said. “And like my guys, just keep working hard at it and we keep grinding away.”
The Dawn 150 was ARCA’s first race at Mid-Ohio since Dayton’s Jack Bowsher won in 1965. That 20,404-day gap was the longest in the history of the Toledo-based series. Friday was also the Menards Series’ 1,500th race, dating back to 1953.
ARCA heads next to the mountains of northeast Pennsylvania on June 25 for an 80-lap race around the triangle-shaped Pocono Raceway. The defending race winner at Pocono? Ty Gibbs.
NASCAR tomorrow with local connections
The NASCAR Xfinity Series takes the track Saturday at 1 p.m. for the B&L Transport 170. The 75-lap race – carved into three, 25-lap stages – will be NASCAR’s only trip to Ohio this year and the only time the organization’s top minor league headlines a weekend, since the Cup Series is in California.
Because of NASCAR’s COVID-19 protocols, drivers will have no practice or qualifying.
Points leader and Columbus native Austin Cindric, whose family once owned Mid-Ohio, starts on pole driving the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang. Gibbs, switching to the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra, will start beside him on the front row.
Gibbs, running a limited Xfinity schedule this year, has two wins in six starts. His February victory on the Daytona International Speedway road course made him the first driver ever to win his Xfinity Series debut with no prior national series experience.
Kaulig Racing, owned by northeast Ohio-based businessman Matt Kaulig, will field three Chevrolet Camaros on Saturday. Jeb Burton (No. 10) starts fourth, Justin Haley (No. 11) starts tenth and AJ Allmendinger (No. 16) starts 12th. Allmendinger won the inaugural running of this race in 2013.
New Philadelphia native Matt Mills starts 32nd in the No. 5 BJ McLeod Motorsports Camaro. Click here for the full starting lineup. All cars on Saturday cleared pre-race inspection.
Xfinity teams often borrow Cup pit crew members, but pit stops will be modified on Saturday since the two series don’t share the weekend. Essentially, drivers can only pit during cautions and stage breaks, and they will exit in the order they came in.
Green flag is at 1 p.m. Fox Sports 1 has TV coverage, and the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (ch. 90) will have the radio broadcast. The weather forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 80s.
Mid-Ohio lifted COVID-19 protocols such as mandatory mask wearing and social distancing after state health orders lifted this week. Following CDC guidelines, though, is still recommended.